Dar es Salaam. Hundreds of opposition party Chadema on Monday arrived at the Julius Nyerere International Airport dressed in party colours waving party flags as they waited for the arrival of former Singida East MP and party’s deputy chairman for Tanzania Mainland, Mr Tundu Lissu.
Mr Lissu, who is former Singida East Member of Parliament (MP), has been undergoing treatment in Belgium following several gun shots he received while in Dodoma in September, 2017.
Prior to his arrival, there have been verbal exchanges between the police force and Chadema, with the former warning the latter against mobilising people so they can gather at Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) with the aim of cheering Lissu’s arrival.
“When you want to mobilise a gathering like the country-wide gatherings being organized by Chadema, the law requires the organisers to notify the police 48 hours in advance,” said police spokesman David Misime.
On Saturday, police issued a statement warning against any assembly at the airport for the purpose of welcoming Mr Lissu, who is also one of the presidential aspirants through Chadema.
But that notwithstanding, hundreds of the opposition party supporters flocked to the JNIA on Monday as they sought to cheer the homecoming of their leader who narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in 2017.
Surprisingly, the police force allowed them in and contrary to widely-held expectations, there was no any form of confrontation between the opposition party supporters and the law enforcing organs.
The opposition party leaders hailed the police force for what they termed as ‘wisdom’.
Those that spoke on the issue included: outgoing Arusha Urban Member of Parliament, Godless Lema, Peter Msigwa (Iringa Urban), Joseph Haule (Mikumi) and former Dar es Salaam City Council mayor Isaya Mwita.
"I represented other MPs in escorting Mr Lissu to Nairobi after a failed assassination attempt. The situation was terrible and therefore, it is a blessing to welcome him back as we witness him walking on his feet," said Mr Lema.
After a failed assassination attempt in 2017, Mr Lissu was airlifted from Dodoma to a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya before he was transferred to Belgium for specialized treatment.
The outspoken politician doubles as former Tanganyika Law society (TLS) and ex-Chadema's head for Legal Affairs department.
Through his agents, Mr Lissu has collected the party's presidential nomination forms, seeking the opposition party's endorsement in order to challenge President John Magufuli’s reelection bid during the October 28, General Election.